No. 22 UConn drops 64-60 thriller vs. Michigan State

Adama Sanogo defends Michigan State player cropped

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — A.J. Hoggard hit the go-ahead free throws with 30.3 seconds left and Michigan State scored the game’s final nine points to push past No. 22 Connecticut 64-60 in Thursday’s Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals.

Gabe Brown scored 16 points for the Spartans (5-1), who blew a 14-point lead before halftime and shot just 32% after the break.

But Michigan State did enough to take back momentum after the Huskies had gone up 60-55 with 1:41 left and finally secure a spot in Friday’s championship game.

It was another tense finish for both teams after their first-round games had plenty of late-game drama — including two extra periods for the Huskies in a draining 115-109 win against No. 19 Auburn. But Michigan State’s defense came up with multiple critical stops late, holding the Huskies to 1-for-9 shooting in the final 3 minutes.

The final one came with the Huskies (5-1) getting a chance to tie. But after a long stretch of dribbling, Jalen Gaffney managed to fire up a tough straightaway 3 that fell short of everything.

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Adama Sonogo had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies, while Tyrese Martin added 16 points and 12 boards despite being uncertain to play because of a sprained left wrist suffered in the Auburn win.

Nov 25, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Connecticut Huskies guard Tyrese Martin (4) reacts after dunking against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 25, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Connecticut Huskies guard Tyrese Martin (4) reacts after dunking against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

BIG PICTURE

UConn: Wednesday’s 115-109 win against the Tigers was a March-esque thriller, but regrouping from it to play again in less than 24 hours was a major challenge. It didn’t help that UConn didn’t have forward Isaiah Whaley

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, who sat out after fainting briefly following a 43-minute effort in the Auburn game. UConn missed 15 of its first 18 shots, then recovered to go up seven with 4:44 left before fading late.

Michigan State: Things weren’t easy for the Spartans in the first round, either. They needed an alley-oop dunk by Marcus Bingham Jr. with 3.4 seconds left to beat Loyola Chicago. This time, they overcame a blown lead and then a surge from the Huskies for another tight win against an NCAA Tournament team from last season.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies will play in Friday’s third-place game against the VCU-Baylor loser.

Michigan State: The Spartans advanced to Friday’s championship game to face the VCU-Baylor winner.

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